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Dominican Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit says the kinks are being ironed out as it relates to the free movement of labour regime, which is provided for under the CARICOM Single Market.
He was speaking at a press conference held jointly with Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer, at the 31st Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James on July 5.
Mr. Skerrit said a number of states had raised concerns about proceeding to a full regime of free movement of labour, and that these must be considered.
“We have to be mindful of the concerns.while some would love to see us move to the free regime, it makes no sense us going ahead with it full speed and not taking into consideration the concerns, which persons may have in respect of countries.what we are saying is that let us listen to the concerns, and to see how we can work with them to address those challenges, and once we address those challenges then we move forward,” he outlined.
Mr. Skerrit stressed that this did not mean that there was no commitment to the free movement of labour, and a full blown free market within the Community.
He also noted that a distinction must be made between the free movement of labour, and the free movement of persons.
“Under the free movement regime, CARICOM has approved for the free movement of labour, not the free movement of persons, and they are two distinct matters,” the Dominican Prime Minister asserted.
CARICOM has so far approved several categories of labour to move freely within the Community including: persons with university degrees, and associate degrees; artists and musicians; sportsmen and sportswomen; nurses, teachers, and domestics.
On the matter of contingent rights that persons are entitled to when they move from one CARICOM state to another, Mr. Skerrit said this concern was a fair one. “We have agreed to some of the contingent rights, there are others that we have disputes over. What we have agreed is to set aside those that we have agreed to, and to seek to find consensus on the others,” he informed. Such rights include health care, and education.